February 19th, 2013
11:07 PM ET
10 years ago

McCain fields fiery immigration questions at town hall

(CNN) - Sen. John McCain opened his town hall meeting in Sun Lakes, Arizona, on Tuesday with an invitation to answer "any comments, questions, or insults that you may have."

He may have gotten what he wished for.

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The Arizona Republican fielded spirited questioning from some people in the border state apparently frustrated with slow progress on the illegal immigration issue. Several rose at his forum in support of stringent deportation programs, which McCain does not favor.

“This is an Orwellian experience,” he said to one agitated questioner, telling him to sit down. “You've had enough time, sir. You've had enough time.”

The senator also spoke on the progress of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” in the Senate, of which he is a member. They have been working to craft an immigration bill suitable to members of both parties.

Initially, McCain said, “I cannot tell you that I'm sure that we will reach a conclusion,” but later added, “We believe that there is a good, strong possibility that we come up with a plan and a proposal that most Americans would support.”

“All I can say is that I'm guardedly optimistic,” he said. “I can say that we have not received anything but pledges of cooperation so far from the White House."

President Barack Obama called him and two other Republicans involved in the immigration negotiations.

McCain said the Obama administration’s draft proposal on immigration - which emerged over the weekend and frustrated some Republicans – was not an issue in their conversation.

The administration has since said the plan was not an intended leak and underscored the president’s support for the bipartisan effort on Capitol Hill. But Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said Obama’s proposal would be “dead on arrival in Congress” if the administration advanced it.

McCain also reiterated his plans to vote against the nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel, which his party held up in the Senate last week. The vote is expected to go forward after senators return from their current recess.

Filed under: Immigration • John McCain
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Thomas

    When the old show little wisdom , it's time to retire .

    Every dog has is day , McCain had his years ago.

    February 20, 2013 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  2. Gunny

    Republicans don't even like republicans

    February 20, 2013 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  3. Larry L

    The people of Arizona deserve what they get. They've tolerated bigoted, delusional, hateful, and ineffective leadership at every level – from their Governor to McCain. As they allow the ultra-right-wing to control their state they must accept the result. McCain is a bitter, tired, and defeated old man – incapable of providing progressive leadership. Arizona needs to join modern America.

    February 20, 2013 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  4. yanni

    He love's TV must love the news about him perpetual news anchor man

    February 20, 2013 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  5. Gina

    The old AZ dope and the new FL dope.

    February 20, 2013 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  6. californiaac

    The only thing McCain should be concerned about is how much money the dissidents in his townhall meeting contribute to his campaign. The squeeky wheel does not get the oil; the $$$bills do.

    February 20, 2013 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  7. Pat Kittle

    Poll after poll, as well as the vast majority letters to editors and online comments make it clear most US citizens are beyond FED UP with massively unsustainable immigration, and all the obvious trouble it brings.

    But our politicians have to serve another master - isn't that right, Chuck Hagel?

    February 20, 2013 02:49 am at 2:49 am |
  8. Form the left coast....

    McCain needs to retire. He's way past his shelf date. His thinking has become obsessive, his bitterness and refusal to cooperate with others in the Senate are obstructive, and he postures on the Sunday talk shows like some kind of moral leader. Go home. You've done your thing, now get out of the way.

    February 20, 2013 02:53 am at 2:53 am |
  9. Chris

    I want our borders secure and that should come right now.

    February 20, 2013 04:31 am at 4:31 am |
  10. Donna

    Arizona is THE front line in the fight against illegal immigration. The people of Arizona have paid a high price for the federal government's refusal to protect and defnd our borders and to enforce the laws of this nation, They have been thrown to the wolves.

    February 20, 2013 04:58 am at 4:58 am |
  11. Washington Is Out Of Touch with reality

    just another rino that needs to go.

    February 20, 2013 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  12. Marie MD

    Ouch! I guess the phony immigration reform the rethugs are trying to push for votes is not working. Oops! 🙂

    February 20, 2013 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  13. Jerry

    Oh duh. Sometimes you get what you ask for! Though I am not a Republican, I have a lot of respect for Senator McCain. However, the fact is that a sizable percentage of Américans are frustrated with the illegal immigration fiasco and are tired of having to pay for services and benefits for people that are in América illegally.

    All this while Obama continues to pander for votes; though he legally CAN NOT run for president again.

    Uhm. I am starting to wonder if he is really going to go for that King/Dictator idea being floated around.

    OK, ok, "Benders Forward", just asking!!!

    February 20, 2013 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  14. Gurgyl

    Better bring brainy and come here. Britton is doing the same. Poen immigration for India more. They are smart and educated. True.

    February 20, 2013 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  15. Rick McDaniel

    The illegals simply want to be handed citizenship on a silver platter, and it is time to stop doing that.

    February 20, 2013 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  16. Jim

    Time for thi rich old out of touch rich guy to retire

    February 20, 2013 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  17. MrBeenThere

    He and his fellow partners in crime (on both sides) are afraid to put there name on any bill. Because if the plan doesn't work they would be held accountable, come on you buffoons something is better than nothing and at least we would know what not to do next time. They belittle they un-employed saying all they want is a free lunch......... well I'm tired of paying the House and Senate's lunches and getting dittily squat........

    February 20, 2013 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  18. Rudy NYC

    from the article:

    “All I can say is that I'm guardedly optimistic,” he [McCain] said. “I can say that we have not received anything but pledges of cooperation so far from the White House."
    You get "pledges of cooperation" from the White House and he says that he is "guardedly optimistic"? I thought pledges were supposed to mean something to conservatives. How much more does McCain want? A full monty style cave in?

    February 20, 2013 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  19. bobo

    Obama Lied.... plain and simple. He has his own plan and does not want the Bipartisan plan to work. His plan leaked out.... but of course no News will report on it. Obama Lies... its His way or the Highway.

    February 20, 2013 08:26 am at 8:26 am |